Having worked my way through Joan Beaufort’s daughters logically its time to move on to the sons. By rights I should start with Richard Neville 5th Earl of Salisbury. He was the third of Westmorland’s sons to survive infancy – the first of Joan Beaufort’s sons. So in the great scheme of things he really wasn’t originally destined to be much more than a footnote. His parents arranged a match with Alice Montagu who was the daughter of the 4th Earl of Salisbury. It wasn’t a foregone conclusion that Alice would be an heiress as her father married Alice Chaucer, the poet’s grand daughter, so it wasn’t beyond the bounds of possibility that he could have had a son.
Salisbury died in 1428 in France at the Siege of Orleans leaving Alice as suo jure countess of Salisbury meaning that Neville who seems to have married her the year before acquired the title by right of his wife as well as possession of her lands which were largely based in Hampshire and Wiltshire rather than the north of the country more usually associated with the Neville family. Although his principal residence was now Bisham he continued in his role as a warden of the marches which was periodically renewed by the state and which required his presence there.
Eventually, following Joan’s death in 1440, he took possession of his father’s Yorkshire manors ar Middleham and Sheriff Hutton and settled down to a feud with his elder half siblings who were somewhat aggrieved that whilst they had the title that the the 1st earl’s second family had acquired the estates thanks to their mother Joan. There was also the Neville-Percy feud to take into consideration which gradually escalated across the years as the two families vied for land, power and influence. Unsurprisingly the government found itself intervening on occasion. However, thanks to his mother’s canny legal arrangements and his wife’s patrimony Salisbury found himself very wealthy and rather more influential than he might have expected given that there weren’t many earls with more wealth than him.
Salisbury’s power in the north thanks to the inheritance of accumulated Neville estates coincided with King Henry VI’s deteriorating mental health. The king, known for his piety, relied upon his wife Margaret of Anjou and her court favourites notably Edmund Beaufort 2nd Duke of Somerset. The treasury was empty, there were times when the royal family didn’t have food for their table and the situation in France went from bad to worse. Richard of York who was Salisbury’s brother-in-law denied his rightful role at the heart of the King’s counsels gradually became a champion for reform which led to an armed stand off at Dartford in 1452 followed by the First Battle of St Albans in 1455. Salisbury rose or fell with his brother-in-law. In 1459 he joined York at Ludlow and was forced to flee the country along with his eldest son the Earl of Warwick. The pair went to Calais with York’s son Edward Earl of March and in 1460 was with York at Sandal when a Lancastrian army arrived and began to taunt the duke – the result was a pitched battle and the death not only of York and his second son the Earl of Rutland but also of Salisbury and his son Thomas.
Salisbury escaped the battle unlike his son Thomas and son-in-law Lord Harington but was captured and taken to Pontefract where he was executed. His head was placed on Micklegate Bar in York. After the Battle of Towton the following Easter the earl’s body was moved to Bisham Abbey as his will requested.
Salisbury was related not only to York through his sister Cecily’s marriage to the duke but was also related through his own mother to Somerset who was the duke’s principal court opponent.
It was Thomas’s marriage to Maud Stanhope the niece and co-heiress of Lord Cromwell which resulted in the escalation of the Neville Percy feud in 1453 and which probably moved Salisbury from a neutral position to an alliance with York. salisbury received little help from either the queen or Somerset agains the Percy family – Somerset was friendly to Northumberland.
Salisbury and Alice had a large family of their own – ten children in all.
Anne Neville was born in about 1410 (depending on the source you read). By the time she was fourteen she was married to Humphrey Stafford, Earl of Stafford who would go on to become the First Duke of Buckingham. The family was hugely wealthy. Anne like many of the other women in her family became noted for her interest in books and spent money on lavishly illustrated prayer books and psalters. The Wingfield Book of Hours was hers for example. In addition, as with others of her family History also has her book of accounts detailing her expenditure. She died in 1480 at the age of seventy (ish) after two marriages and many children – again figures vary depending upon the source but there were at least ten of them. Sadly of their sons, only three survived to adulthood.
Anne’s eldest son with Humphrey Stafford – unsurprisingly another Humphrey died in 1458 of plague – a reminder of the fact that disease stalked the land culling various Neville descendants just as much as war. Anne’s son had been married to his cousin Margaret Beaufort – not to be confused with the Margaret Beaufort. This one was the daughter of Edmund Beaufort, Duke of Somerset (the one who had a thing with Katherine of Valois and managed to get himself killed at the first Battle of St Albans in May 1455) rather than Margaret’s more famous cousin who was first married to Edmund Tudor.
The next son was Henry Stafford who married the widowed Margaret Tudor – nee Beaufort. It must have been a bit confusing to have two Margaret Beauforts in the family. This Margaret, other than being Henry VII’s mother, was the daughter of John Beaufort the older brother of Edmund who died in 1444 under suspicious circumstances having lost vast chunks of France due to ineptitude. Henry Stafford seems to have had a skin condition called St Anthony’s Fire – the condition involving inflammation of the skin as well as headaches and sickness which cannot have been ideal when you had to get togged up in armour and go and fight battles. There were no children from this union but the pair seem to have genuinely loved one another celebrating their wedding anniversary each year and Margaret Beaufort celebrated St Anthony’s day throughout her life. Sir Henry fell victim to the Wars of the Roses dying from injuries sustained at the Battle of Barnet in October 1470. Although the family had started off loyal to Henry VI, Henry had made his peace with Edward IV and when he was injured was fighting on the side of the White Rose. Soon afterwards, in 1472, Lady Margaret Beaufort married Thomas Stanley.
Anne’s third and final son to survive to adulthood was called John and he would become the Earl of Wiltshire. Like his brothers he fought in the Wars of the Roses. History knows that he was at Hexham in 1464 fighting on the side of Edward IV. He went on to become Chief Butler for England. Like his brothers also married an heiress. He and his wife, Constance Green, had one son born in 1470 who inherited John’s title and estates when he was just three years old. As his cousin Buckingham would do, the child Edward found himself under the care of his paternal grandmother – Anne Neville Duchess of Buckingham. In 1483, now thirteen, Edward carried Queen Anne’s crown at the coronation of King Richard III and he was also in York for Edward of Middleham’s creation as Prince of Wales. Four years later Stafford was at Elizabeth of York’s coronation as Henry Tudor’s queen. The earldom of Wiltshire became extinct on Stafford’s death in 1499 but was recreated at a later date.
Several daughters from Anne’s union to Humphrey survived to marriageable age and this proved to be a bit of a headache for the Buckinghams despite the wealth I mentioned earlier. Part of the problem was the Humphrey’s mother held extensive dower estates having not only been married to Humphrey’s father but to his older brother before that. Until she died the dower estates were hers rather than the dukes. Buckingham must have sympathised with Katherine Neville, Dowager Duchess of Norfolk whose marriage to the duke ended with his death many decades before her own. Buckingham wished to make extremely good marriages for his daughters and that cost money.
The couple’s oldest daughter, another Anne, married the heir to the Earl of Oxford. Aubrey de Vere is best known to history for being executed for treason in 1462 along with his father the twelfth Earl of Oxford. Edward IV had Aubrey and his father arrested for writing to Margaret of Anjou and planning to have a Lancastrian force land in England. This was rather unfortunate as up until that time the de Veres had done rather well at keeping themselves out of the fifteenth century fracas. It would also have to be said that the exact nature of the plot is rather blurred round the edges. Anne de Vere nee Stafford went on to marry Thomas, Lord Cobham. Thomas died in 1471 without legitimate male issue so his title passed to Anne’s daughter also called Anne who was married to Edward Burgh of Gainsborough who was unfortunately declared insane.
Anne Cobham married Edward Burgh when he was thirteen. Katherine Parr’s first spouse was a member of the Burgh family. Anne Neville and Humphrey Stafford’s 2x-great grandson Thomas Burgh fought at Flodden in 1513 and sat on Anne Boleyn’s trial having been very forceful in her favour at the time of Henry VIII’s divorce from Katherine of Aragon – he is on record as ripping the royal coat of arms from her barge. His residence in Gainsborough was Gainsborough Old Hall which I have posted about before. Sir Thomas does not seem to have been a terribly pleasant man given his towering rages and having his own grandchildren declared illegitimate.
But back to the daughters of Anne Neville and Humphrey Stafford. Joan Stafford, was married aged ten to William, Viscount Beaumont who started out as a Lancastrian, became temporarily Yorkist after Towton when he was captured but wasn’t given back his lands- Edward chose to give them to his friend Lord Hastings- so remained Lancastrian at heart which meant that the next two decades were eventful for him until he returned with Henry Tudor and took part in the Battle of Bosworth. William was unusual in that his loyalty to the Lancastrians was pretty much unwavering. Unfortunately for Joan the marriage was set aside in 1477. She went on to marry Sir William Knyvett of Buckenham in Norfolk. The family was an important part of the Norfolk gentry and feature in the Paston Letters. Like her mother, Joan commissioned many books which survive today.
A third daughter called Catherine married into the Talbot family. John Talbot became the 3rd Earl of Shrewsbury after his father’s death in 1460.The couple had two sons and a daughter. It feels as though Neville strands of DNA link most of the important fifteenth century families and reflects the way in which a power base and affinity could be built. Another daughter, Margaret married Robert Dunham of Devon.
Humphrey Stafford overstretched himself as he was still paying his daughters’ dowries when he died and accommodation had to be made for that in his will. The Buckinghams were good Lancastrians. Humphrey was killed in 1460 at the Battle of Northampton whilst guarding Henry VI’s tent. If you recall this was the battle that Edmund Grey rather ruined for the Lancastrians by changing sides mid battle and allowing the Earl of Warwick through his lines. This event rather changed things within the wider Neville family dynamic. In 1459 after the Battle of Ludford Bridge (which really wasn’t a battle – more of a stand-off followed by a tactical scarpering by Richard of York) Anne and Humphrey had accommodated Anne’s sister Cecily who was Richard of York’s wife along with her younger children. Thanks to popular fiction if we think of Anne at all it is usually in her rather frosty welcome of disgraced Cecily. The wheel of Fortune turned in 1460 at the Battle of Northampton and by Easter 1461 the Lancastrians had been labelled traitors and the house of York was in the ascendant with Cecily lording it over widowed Anne.
The Second duke of Buckingham was Anne’s grandson. He wasn’t even five years old when he acquired the title. Wardship of the new duke passed into the hands of Anne but Edward IV – who was Anne’s nephew (Cecily Neville was his mother)- purchased the wardship from her and with it the right to organise the young duke’s marriage. He ended up married to Katherine Woodville who he thought was rather beneath him in social status and feeling resentful of his Yorkist cousin who didn’t allow him the freedoms and rights that he felt were his due. Ultimately he undertook a spot of light revolting against Richard III in October 1483 which ended in his execution at the beginning of November the same year in Salisbury.
Six years after the death of Humphrey Stafford, Anne married again to Walter Blount who was the first Baron Mountjoy. They had no children (and trust me when I say that I am grateful whenever I come across that fact as I don’t have to try and fit more descendants onto a small piece of paper.) Mountjoy died in 1474 mentioning his beloved wife in his will.
Anne died in 1480 and is buried in Pleshy, Essex next to Humphrey Stafford as her will requested. Only her daughter Joan Stafford survived her. Most famously she left books to her one time daughter-in-law Lady Margaret Beaufort who was now married to Thomas Stanley, Earl of Derby.
Baldwin, David. (2009). The Kingmaker’s Sisters. Stroud: The History Press
Eleanor Neville was married in the first instance to Richard le Despenser who was a cousin – his grandfather was Edmund of Langley, Duke of York one of Edward III’s sons. He died during his teens leaving a sister as his sole heiress.
A second marriage was arranged for Eleanor to Henry Percy the son of ‘Hotspur’. The marriage between the Nevilles and Percys which was contracted in May 1412 provided a link between the two dominant northern families. Henry Percy’s father and grandfather had both rebelled against Henry IV and paid with their lives. Young Henry grew up across the border in Scotland. Henry V favoured reconciliation but if Percy was to return to favour and regain his family lands and titles he had to be kept in line. Marriage to one of the Earl of Westmorland’s daughters was one of the caveats to Percy’s restoration. The marriage took place in Berwick in 1414 but Percy did not receive his grandfather’s earldom for another two years. It has been suggested that King Henry V who was waging war in France did not want Percy in Scotland and the Southampton Plot of 1415 was a reminder of the constant rebellions and uprisings plotted against Henry IV from the point that he usurped his cousin Richard II’s throne. The Percy family were restored to many of their lands but they did not regain their Yorkshire properties which became an increasingly bitter point of contention between the Nevilles and the Percys as the fifteenth century progressed. In 1453 the marriage of Eleanor’s nephew Thomas Percy to Maud Stanhope the nice of Lord Cromwell resulted in the feud escalating into violence.
Henry fought in France but seems to have mainly fulfilled the traditional role of the Percys on the border between England and Scotland. He also seems to have come under the political patronage of Eleanor’s uncle the wily Cardinal Beaufort.
Whatever the interfamilial relationships might have been like at a regional and national level Eleanor and Henry had at least ten children. Their eldest surviving son Henry who became the 3rd Earl was killed at Towton on the Lancastrian side in 1461 as was his younger brother Richard. Their second son Thomas Lord Egremont who was instrumental in the violence at Haworth Moor in 1453 was killed in 1460 at the Battle of Northampton.Ralph was killed in 1464 at the Battle of Hedgeley Moor. Eleanor had no reason to love her nephew the Kingmaker – thanks to the wars between Lancaster and York only two of her sons survived.
George the Rector of Rothbury and Caldbeck died in the same year as his mother and William became the Bishop of Carlisle but died in 1462. One of William’s sisters, Joan, became a nun.
Katherine Percy married Edmund Grey, 1st Earl of Kent – His mother was part of the Holland family descended from Joan of Kent the mother of Richard II by her first marriage and his father was one of the Greys of Ruthin and an active Lancastrian. Katherine’s son Anthony married one of Elizabeth Woodville’s sisters but there were not children from the union and he predeceased his father. Their second son George, who succeeded his father to the earldom, was also married to a Woodville sister – Anne who died in 1489. After her death he married into the Herbert family. Meanwhile Katherine’s daughter Elizabeth married back into the northern gentry network being contracted to Sir Robert Greystoke and her sister Anne married John Grey 8th Baron Grey of Wilton. The Greys of Wilton and Ruthin were different branches of the same family. And yes, Elizabeth Woodville’s first husband was part of the extended family network but that would require another family tree and I don’t need one of those just at the moment. Although – if nothing else it adds fuel to the concept of the naming of the Cousins War – they were all related one way or another!
Deep breath everyone! As you can see Joan Beaufort and Ralph Neville had five daughters. One of them, I am delighted to report, became a nun. Joan who was born according to different sources at the earliest in 1399 but often reported as a later birth was a Poor Clare. So I shall move swiftly on.
The countess’s eldest daughter was much married. Katherine was married in the first instance to John Mowbray 2nd Duke of Norfolk. The couple who were married for about twenty years had only one surviving child – named after his father who became the 3rd Duke. Katherine’s son has been described as having a decisive part to play at the Battle of Towton which settled Edward IV onto the throne. She would eventually become the great grandmother of Anne Mowbray Countess of Norfolk who was married as a child to her distant cousin Richard Duke of York, more famous as one of the ‘princes in the Tower.’ The pair were married in 1478 when the groom was five and the bride was six. Edward IV arranged the match because little Anne was a hugely wealthy heiress. After her death in 1481 the title should have gone to the Howard family who were her third cousins whilst Richard kept the lands and the money because he was Anne’s legal husband. In the event Edward IV passed an act of parliament making his son the Duke of Norfolk reverting to the Crown if the boy died without heirs. All of that changed in 1483.
Meanwhile Katherine retained her dower and jointure rights as the dowager Duchess of Norfolk. Her second marriage was somewhat scandalous as she married one her previous husband’s knights without license. Thomas came from Harlsey Castle near Northallerton and had a long association with the Neville family. The couple had two daughters Joan and Katherine before Strangeways death which occurred before August 1443. Joan married Sir William Willoughby of Lincolnshire –a further link in the network of gentry and aristocratic families which spread beyond county boundaries. And as an interesting aside it was a member of the Willoughby family who fought against Edward IV at the behest of the Kingmaker at Losecoat Field but I wouldn’t want to comment on the familial relationship.
Katherine Strangeways was married to Henry Grey of Codnor on 29 August 1454. Grey swapped his loyalties from Lancaster to York following Towton. He was a key member of the Derbyshire aristocracy and managed to get into a feud with the Vernon family in 1467 which resulted in the Duke of Clarence being sent to the region to restore order. In 1468 the families were required to swear not to intimidate jurors. Three years later Katherine’s husband was summoned to London because he caused a riot in Nottingham. Katherine had no children and predeceased her argumentative husband.
Meanwhile the dowager duchess was widowed for a second time and married for a third time to John Viscount Beaumont who was killed in 1460 at the Battle of Northampton. Beaumont was a rather wealthy Lancastrian who was always loyal to Henry VI. It is perhaps not surprising he met his death whilst guarding the king.
In January 1465 Katherine Neville, who might reasonably expected to have enjoyed her widowhood in charge of her own estates, made her final marriage to Sir John Woodville. A chronicler described the match as a ‘diabolical marriage.’The bride was past sixty years in age and the groom was not yet twenty. There is no indication about how Katherine felt about the match – it is usually rolled out to illustrate Woodville greed but for all we know the unlikely couple may have been on friendly terms. Rather unexpectedly Katherine outlived her young husband as he was executed without trial at Coventry by her nephew the Earl of Warwick following the Battle of Edgecote.
Katherine was issued with Coronation robes in 1483 and was part of Anne Neville’s coronation procession. She died later the same year.
Sir Ralph Neville of Oversley, the second son of the Earl of Westmorland’s first family with Margaret Stafford married his step-sister Mary Ferrers – sometimes called Margaret or Margery- who was the daughter of Sir Robert Ferrers of Wem and Joan Beaufort. She was born in about 1394 and died circa 1457. Her marriage took place in about 1411. Like other members of the Neville family, she and her husband were admitted to the Guild of the Holy Cross at Stratford-Upon-Avon. She was the co-heiress of the 2nd Lord Ferrers of Wem. Neville became Lord of Oversrlsey in Warwickshire by right of his wife. Margaret appears to have had one son John Neville who was born in about 1416. John would become the Sheriff of Lincolnshire. John died in 1482.
Ralph’s sister Maud was married to Peter de Mauley of Mulgrave in about 1400. Maud did not give her husband any children so held Mulgrave Castle in her own right after his death as part of her jointure (Rickard, p.487). The marriage reflects a regional pattern of intermarriage and affinity that can be seen repeated in the marriages made by Maud’s sisters.
Alice Neville was married to Sir Thomas Grey. Grey came from Heton in Northumberland. His uncle was Thomas de Mowbray, 1st Duke of Norfolk and he was also a descendent of King Edward I through his maternal line. Grey succeeded his father in 1400 and was shown great favour because of his father’s support for King Henry IV at the time when he took the throne from his cousin King Richard II. By 1404 Grey was a retainer of the Earl of Westmorland with a marriage to cement the relationship but Grey drew closer to Richard of Conisburgh, 3rd Earl of Cambridge who had a claim to the throne by right of his Mortimer ancestry. Meanwhile the couple went on to have at least eight children. The pattern continued to reflect regional intermarriage amongst affinities and extended kinship networks. One of Alice’s sons married into the FitzHugh family of Ravensworth. Together with the earl and Henry Scrope of Masham Grey was one of the three conspirators executed for his part in the Southampton Plot in 1415. Grey’s alliance with the earl of Cambridge was cemented in 1412 when his son Thomas was betrothed to the earl’s daughter Isabel of York who was three at the time of the betrothal.
Alice’s son Thomas died before 1426 leaving his widow and a son. Isabel went on to marry Henry Bourchier who was created the Earl of Essex by King Edward IV for his support of the Yorkists. The couple had a large family including a son married to Edward’s sister-in-law Anne Woodville.
Philippa married into the Dacre family, Margaret married into the Scrope family and Anne married Sir Gilbert Umfraville who seems to have come from Harbottle and was killed in 1421 at the Battle of Bauge without heirs. He’d inherited his title and estates whilst an infant but came into his inheritance in 1411. His wardship had been secured by the Earl of Westmorland and his betrothal to Anne was completed during his childhood. I’m not sure what happened to Anne after her husband’s death.
Elizabeth became a nun. There is a reference to an annuity being left to an Elizabeth Neville who was a London Minoress in 1386. However, she was the daughter of John Neville so the aunt of Ralph and Margaret’s daughter. It appears that there was a tradition of Neville women joining the London minoresses at Aldgate as Elizabeth received her annuity at the same time that John’s sister Eleanor the widow of Geoffrey Scrope was left money for the care of the convent. Not only had she joined the sisterhood but she became its abbess. The minoresses were an enclosed order of Poor Clares. It was a popular location for aristocratic womenfolk although they did not always take vows. Interestingly John of Gaunt left money to the sisters and after 1398 Margaret Beauchamp lived there after her widowhood.
Rickard, J. (2002). The Castle Community: The Personnel of English and Welsh Castles, 1272-1422. United Kingdom: Boydell Press.
Bourdillon, A. F. C. (1926). The Order of Minoresses in England. United Kingdom: The University Press.
‘Friaries: The minoresses without Aldgate’, in A History of the County of London: Volume 1, London Within the Bars, Westminster and Southwark, ed. William Page (London, 1909), pp. 516-519. British History Onlinehttp://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/london/vol1/pp516-519 [accessed 31 March 2022].
Ralph Neville 1st Earl of Westmorland married Margaret Stafford by papal dispensation. Like so many other marriages of the period there was a degree of consanguinity to be taken into consideration.
The couple’s eldest son John made a glittering marriage to Elizabeth Holland the daughter of Thomas Holland 2nd Earl of Kent in 1394. Her mother was Alice FitzAlan the daughter of the Earl of Arundel and his wife Eleanor who was the Great Granddaughter of King Henry III. It was an indicator of the earl’s growing power and prestige. John held the office of Warden of the West Marches from 15 May 1414 to 1420. He succeeded his father who was also the Warden for the West Marches. It would be something of a Neville family responsibility through much of the fifteenth century. He also played his part in the Hundred Years War.
Meanwhile Margaret Stafford died and the earl made a second marriage in November 1396 to Joan Beaufort the legitimised daughter of John of Gaunt and Katherine Swynford. The couple went on to have fourteen children who the earl showed increasing favour towards as he enfeoffed lands which should have been destined for his eldest son and heir to his second family. John did not seem to object to his father’s favour towards his half-siblings. According to Charles Ross he was a witness to at least one of his father’s land transfers. It is possible that neither Ralph nor John realised the extent to which Ralph’s second family would take advantage of the enfeoffments they received. John died before his father. He had been an active participant in the Hundred Years War and it is likely that his death occurred in France in 1420.
John’s eldest son Ralph succeeded his grandfather as the second Earl of Westmorland after the first earl’s death in 1425. The following year he married into the Percy family and received licence to enter his lands- but they were sadly depleted resulting in an increasingly bitter legal dispute with his step-grandmother and the junior Neville line headed by Richard Neville Earl of Salisbury. Joan Beaufort and her brother, Cardinal Henry Beaufort had no intention of allowing the earl’s first family – the senior line- to benefit at the expense of Joan’s family. Inevitably matters moved beyond the courts to threats, intimidation and violence.
In 1438 the two halves of the family were summoned to appear before King Henry VI to resolve the ongoing conflict. By 1443 a settlement had been achieved which saw Joan’s son Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury in possession of his father’s properties in the North-West, Yorkshire, Essex, York and London whilst the second earl received properties within the Bishopric of Durham including Raby Castle and Staindrop. After Joan’s death at the end of 1440 her dower lands in County Durham were also returned to the 2nd earl.
At about the same time the accord was reached between the two halves of the Neville family, the 2nd earl who had been widowed married for a second time to Margaret Cobham. The 2nd earl and his family did not have the powerful family connections of their half-siblings, the earl’s second wife was Margaret whose sister Eleanor was married to Humphrey Duke of Gloucester who was Henry VI’s regent in England during his minority was perhaps a strategy to garner some influence.
As well as losing his first wife the earl’s daughter by Margaret, named after her mother, died young and in 1450 his remaining child and heir, John, by his first wife also died. He left a wife – Lady Anne Holland, daughter of the Duke of Exeter but the marriage was thought to be unconsummated.
It appears that Ralph suffered some sort of mental illness at around the same time. The 2nd earl’s brother Thomas who died in 1458 seems to have acted as the earl’s guardian at times. After Thomas’s death it does not appear that anyone took over the responsibility. Either the earl was fully recovered or the conflict that would become known as the Wars of the Roses impacted on the Ralph’s care plan. It might also account for why he did not become involved in the build up to the conflict between York and Lancaster. Although the 2nd earl spent many years litigating against his grandfather’s second family he did not put an army in the field against his uncle Richard Neville Earl of Salisbury or cousin the Earl of Warwick.
The 2nd earl’s remaining brother, John, styled Baron Neville did become embroiled in the intermittent conflict between Lancastrians and Yorkists. According to the English Chronicle Baron Neville met with Richard Duke of York at Sandal in December 1460 before raising an army of 8,000 men. York believed that the baron and his army were on his side in the coming battle so emerged from behind the safety of his castle walls on 30 December. But before the fighting was underway the baron and his men, along with Andrew Trollope the Captain of Calais, turned on the Yorkists. The duke was, after all, allied with his brother-in-law Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury the eldest son of the 1st Earl of Westmorland’s second marriage and the beneficiary of the estates which the earl’s family from his first marriage believed to rightfully belong to them. Evidently John decided that the enemy of his enemy was his friend – so opted to join the Lancastrians.
The Lancastrians saw victory at Wakefield whilst the Yorkists experienced defeat and the deaths of Richard Neville Earl of Salisbury and his son Thomas as well as Richard Duke of York and his second son Edmund Earl of Rutland who was allegedly killed by Lord Clifford as he sought mercy as he fled the battlefield. The tables were soon turned. At the Battle of Towton which was fought during Easter 1461 the Yorkists defeated the Lancastrians and claimed the throne. Baron Neville was killed during the battle and attainted of treason leaving his widow without means.
Which brings me back to Anne Holland – who we last saw as a grieving widow in 1450 when the 2nd earl’s son John died. The marriage was said to be unconsummated which perhaps removed the impediment to her second wedding (the wording for the papal dispensation must have been interesting both in terms of consanguinity and affinity.) In 1452 Anne married John’s uncle, Baron Neville (the one killed at Towton.) She had only one child, a son named Ralph by Baron Neville. He would become the 3rd Earl of Westmorland. Anne’s own mother Anne Stafford, was not only the daughter of the Earl of Stafford but also the widow of Edmund Mortimer 5th Earl of March before she married the Duke of Exeter (still with me?) which means -for those of you keeping track of who was related to whom -that Anne was distantly related by the ties of kinship created by marriage to King Edward IV who was descended from Mortimer’s sister Anne (Edward’s granny) – demonstrating once again that during the fifteenth century everyone who mattered was related to some degree or other!
Right – I’m off to lay down in a darkened room…
Cokayne, George Edward (1936). The Complete Peerage, edited by H.A. Doubleday and Lord Howard de Walden. IX. London: St. Catherine Press
Ross, Charles (1950). The Yorkshire Baronage, 1399–1435 (PhD). University of Oxford.
On 26 July 1461 Sir Robert Ogle of Ogle Castle became Baron Ogle. His recognition by King Edward IV was because of his support for the Yorkist cause in Northumberland which would essentially remain Lancastrian for the next three years and four months. Inevitably he was part of the Neville affinity – as attested to by the fact that he was regularly appointed as a JP by either Salisbury or Warwick.
Robert was married to Maud Grey in 1399 – It’s not totally clear who Maud’s parents might have been exactly but on her maternal side she was descended from the Mowbray family and possible was related to the Neville family – demonstrating the extended kinship network that stretched through the north across generations.
Richard Neville Earl of Warwick had two daughters – Isabel and Anne who he sought to marry to best advantage so that one day a Neville grandchild would rule England and Wales. He was thwarted by politics and the death of Anne’s son Edward of Middleham. Isabel’s son spent most of his short life as a captive before being executed by King Henry VII.
When he was about twenty-two the Kingmaker who had been married to his countess since they were both children became father for the first time to another daughter called Margaret who was born before the Countess gave birth to her eldest daughter Isabel. If Margaret was born in 1450 she would have been fourteen when married Sir Richard Huddleston of Millom. He was twenty-four. As well as land in Coverdale worth £6 pa Warwick dowered his daughter with the manors of Blennerhasset and Upmanby in Cumberland.
The Kingmaker had three grandchildren from the strategic northern match he made for his illegitimate daughter. Richard, Margaret and Joan. Circumstantial evidence suggests that Richard’s northern family were on good terms with their legitimate half siblings as Margaret can be found as one of Queen Anne Neville’s ladies, indeed at the coronation she preceded many more gently born ladies and received a gift from the king. This familial closeness raises the possibility that Margaret was raised at least in part with her half-sisters at Middleham.
More detailed information about Margaret’s family can be found here:
The Historie of the Arrivall of King Edward IV was widely circulated in Europe in 1471 in the form of a newsletter written in French. It was then amended and extended in English later but probably by the original author. A copy of this was version was kept by the Elizabethan antiquary John Stow. It tells the story of Edward’s return to England rolling his flight to the Low Countries and the court of his brother-in-law the Duke of Burgundy the previous year. Margaret of York was married to Charles the Bold. The couple provided Edward with ships and money allowing him to return to England in March 1471. He arrived off Norfolk on the 12 March but the Earl of Oxford’s hold on the region was too tight for the Yorkists to make a safe landing. Instead, he made landfall at Ravespur on Holderness where Henry of Bolingbroke had landed in 1399. Like his predecessor Edward initially claimed that he was only returning to claim his dukedom. It was only at Nottingham that his numbers began to swell with men loyal to the House of York.
Nicholas Harpisfeld who was one of four clerks of the king’s signet had been with Edward throughout his exile and was with him when he returned. Nicholas may have gone with the king out of loyalty or because he grew up speaking French. Later his good service to Edward and his brother Richard of Gloucester during their time of exile would be remembered. It was Nicholas’ job to travel with the king preparing warrants and letters patent and proofreading completed documents to check that their original copy was the same as the official transcript prepared by other clerks. The Harpisfelds were in Richard of York’s service in 1445 – accounts reveal that he was in Rouen. There was also a Harpsifeld serving Richard in Ireland in 1460 demonstrating the trust that had built up between Edward and Nicholas through the family affinity to the House of York.
Throughout the period there were disputes with St Albans Abbey about the ownership of lands which belonged to the Harpisfeld family. Nicholas was accepted as the rightful owner in 1463 but even in 1484 there was an enquiry about the ownership of the estates which the abbot of St Albans still protested as belonging to the abbey. By that time the family had benefited from their association with the House of York and were the owners or leaseholders of several lands.
Harpisfeld’s eyewitness account of 1471 included the king’s march from Yorkshire to London, the defeat of the Lancastrians led by the Earl of Warwick at Barnet after he failed to gather sufficient troops in the Midlands, as well as the earl’s death and the death of his brother Lord Montagu. It went on to provide details of Margaret of Anjou’s very badly timed arrival off the south coast at Weymouth, the Lancastrian decision to recruit an army led by the Duke of Somerset and to join up with Jasper Tudor in Wales where he was recruiting his own army. It provides information regarding the forced march that saw the Lancastrians pursued from Bristol via Gloucester and Berkeley to Tewkesbury and the battle of the 4 May 1471 that saw Margaret’s son killed and Somerset executed.
The Arrival is an eye-witness account told from a Yorkist perspective and as a consequence we do not know Margaret of Anjou’s exact location during the Battle of Tewkesbury or in which monastic foundation she was eventually captured along with her daughter-in-law, fourteen year old Anne Neville.
The Camden Society reprinted The Arrival in 1838 and can be read via Google books (in English) :
George was the Earl of Warwick’s youngest brother being born in about 1432. He was always destined for the church and educated in Oxford in preparation. In 1458, in the aftermath of the Yorkist victory at the first Battle of St Albans (I know it was 1455) he became the Bishop of Exeter. From that time onwards he was an essential part of the Neville affinity. After the battle of Northampton in July 1460 his brother gave him the Great Seal of England and once the Yorkists were victorious at Towton on 29 March 1461 he became King Edward IV’s lord chancellor. The records reveal him being sent on diplomatic missions, becoming the chancellor of Oxford university and in 1465 being consecrated as Archbishop of York.
Unfortunately the king and his cousin, the Earl of Warwick, found themselves increasingly at odds with one another. In 1467 George’s role as Lord Chancellor was replaced by the Bishop of Bath – Robert Stillington- who would later be accused of officiating at a secret marriage ceremony between Edward and Eleanor Talbot invalidating the king’s union with Elizabeth Woodville (I’m not going into that in this post!) Nor were matters helped when George popped across to Calais to officiate at the wedding of his niece Isabel Neville to George Duke of Clarence having facilitated the necessary papal dispensation beforehand.
George would become Henry VI’s chancellor during the brief readeption of 1470-1471. George was still with the Lancastrian king when Edward IV arrived back in London at the beginning of May 1471. For a short while he share the deposed king’s captivity in the Tower. He was pardoned and released for a short while. He spent that Christmas at his newly built home at Moor Park or The Moor as it was known. He entertained John Paston. The Warkworth Chronicle takes up the tale stating that the king invited the erstwhile bishop to Windsor to hunt (remember that they were cousins as well.). The king suggested that George should return the favour by inviting him to stay at The Moor. George believed that all had been forgiven.
The day before the king was due to arrive the archbishop was arrested on charges of treason. According to Warkworth the charge was that he had provided assistance to the Earl of Oxford. Edward claimed Moor Park and its contents. George found himself being quietly shipped off to Hampnes Castle in the Pale of Calais ‘and there he was kept prisoner for many a day ‘ (Warkworth Chronicle, p.25). The removal was done in such secrecy that it was believed the archbishop was dead – it’s commented upon in the Paston Letters. The chronicle added that the bishop’s mitre found its way into the king’s hands. He had the jewels removed from it and turned into a crown for himself. All of George’s plate and valuables were given to Prince Edward. The chronicle moralised about George’s covetousness but did not add that the Bishop was kept imprisoned until the end of 1475 before being permitted to return to England. It was thought that Richard of Gloucester was amongst the men who argued on the behalf of the bishop. On the 6 November he was made an abbot at Westminster. He was at Blyth Priory in Northumberland when he died on 8 June 1476.